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Mawar to remain a super typhoon when it enters PAR —PAGASA

Super typhoon Mawar maintained its strength on Thursday noon and will remain in the super typhoon category when it enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), state weather bureau PAGASA said Thursday.

In its 11 a.m. bulletin, PAGASA also said Manwar's "much closer approach" to the Philippines is possible.

"The forecast confidence cone and the slightly southward shift in the model solutions suggest that the potential for a much closer approach to the country than the ones shown by the center track is not ruled out," PAGASA said.

The super typhoon is expected to enter PAR on Friday evening or Saturday morning.

Mawar, which will be called Betty once it enters PAR, is seen to accelerate as it moves west northwestward in the next 12 hours approaching Extreme Northern Luzon.

At a press briefing, PAGASA weather specialist Ana Clauren-Jorda said Mawar will remain a super typhoon when it enters PAR.

"Makikita natin sa ating track na mapapanatili po nito yung kaniyang intensity o category bilang isang super typhoon hanggang sa pumasok at baybayin nito ang ating karagatan," she said, adding Manwar's maximum sustained winds may reach 215 kilometers per hour (km/h).

"Yung 215 kilometers per hour po ay pasok pa rin sa super typhoon category," Jorda said.

In its bulletin, PAGASA said Mawar may reach 215 km/h, which is the peak intensity, by Sunday.

"Afterwards, the super typhoon is forecast to weaken although it will remain a typhoon by the end of the forecast period," it added.

Mawar's rain bands are expected to bring heavy rains over Cagayan Valley between Sunday and Tuesday next week. It would also enhance the southwest monsoon and may trigger monsoon rains over the western portions of Luzon and Visayas beginning Sunday or Monday.

However, PAGASA said monsoon rains scenario may still change due to dependence of southwest monsoon enhancement on the track and intensity of Mawar.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal may be raised in the coming days due to the possible strong to gale-force conditions in most areas of the region, except for Batanes-Babuyan Islands area which may have gale to storm-force conditions, according to PAGASA.

"Pag sinabi nating storm force condition, Signal No. 2 to 3 ang ating ire-raise na warning signals sa ilang bahagi o sa may Batanes at Babuyan Islands," said Jorda.

"Samantalang sa nalalabing bahagi ng Cagayan Valley ay posibleng umabot sa Signal 1 to 2 yung itataas natin na Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal," she added.

"Considering these developments, the public and disaster risk reduction and management offices concerned are advised to continue monitoring for updates related to this tropical cyclone," it said.

At 10 a.m., PAGASA said Mawar was located at 2,065 kilometers east of Southeastern Luzon. It has maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour near the center, gustiness of up to 230 km/h, and central pressure of 930 hPa.

Strong to typhoon-force winds extend outwards up to 400 km from the center, PAGASA said.

Mawar was a Category 4 typhoon when it hit Guam on Thursday, packing winds of up to 140 miles per hour (225 kph) and torrential rain.

Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero  told National Public Radio during an interview on Wednesday that Mawar damaged houses and forced the rescue of eight people.

In the Philippines, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said preemptive evacuations are expected to be imposed in the coastal towns of Batanes and some parts of Cagayan as Mawar gets closer to the country.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), for its part, said it has positioned food packs in areas expected to be hit by Mawar.

Several other government offices have started preparations for the super typhoon, including the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said it has prepared assets for rescue operations and identified critical areas for the possible impact of Mawar in Metro Manila. —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA Integrated New